Sunday, January 06, 2008

The Family That Cooks Together...

Friday night, my family and I took a cab over to chef Micol Negrin's Midtown cooking studio to officially wind down the holiday season. It'd be tough to come up with a better finale to 12 days of eating and drinking than attending Micol's "Winter Feast in Northern Italy" class, helping to prepare the meal, learning cooking techniques and tricks, drinking wine and enjoying one of the best meals I've had this season.

In Micol's spacious, tricked-out kitchen (Wolf ranges and ovens; Subzero fridges, freezers and wine storage; Henckels knives), we chopped, sauteed and stirred. The first course was Crepes Stuffed with Two Cheeses & Shiitake Mushrooms in B├ęchamel Sauce. Micol did us the favor of making the crepes ahead of time, so we set to work making the sauce, sauteeing the mushrooms (a mix of shiitake, baby bella and oyster), mixing them with Raclette and Mozzarella cheeses, and assembling the crepes (my mom directed the positioning of the quesadilla-like crepes into a big roasting pan and ladled b├ęchamel sauce over them). The main course was Slow-Cooked Lamb Ossobuco with Mint Gremolata, which Micol had started the day before. Our task: make the sauce, which consisted of butter, onions, carrot (expertly chopped by my dad), celery, bacon and juniper berries. Once everything was soft and starting to caramelize (under Laura's watchful eye), in went flour, then red wine, then tomatoes, demi-glace, salt and pepper. The side dish was Roasted Garlic Risotto (I squeezed the hot, roasted garlic paste out of the garlic skins), and for dessert, Grand Marnier Mousse with Fresh Berries (layered into wine glasses as per my dad's instructions).

After about an hour and a half of cooking, we were ready to eat. It was an amazing meal: the crepes were a huge hit, nice and cozy, the Alpine cheeses lending a delicious Vermonty taste. The lamb was unbelievably tender and rich, and the risotto a comforting side. And dessert was lovely, light and airy. We ate around a large table with the other class participants (we were 20 in all). About halfway through dinner, I heard someone remark, "How about those carrots! Look how nicely they're chopped!" and before long I heard my dad saying, "I'm gonna bag 'em! Ron's diced carrots!"--S

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Spork,

Jusr finished the pesthouse and it was AWESOME. Thank you so Much.

Love

Steak Knife